1st Kings 22:19-23 reads, “Then Micaiah said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead? So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of your, and the LORD has declared disaster against you” (NKJV).

This is, admittedly, a difficult portion. I say this because “on the surface” it SEEMS that God actually “sent someone out to lie for Him.” But we must remember that God is absolutely Holy and thus He cannot sin. Lying IS a sin; therefore God cannot lie. We read of this fact three times in Scripture. Numbers 23:19 declares, “God is not a man, THAT HE SHOULD LIE, nor a son of man, that He should repent, Has He said, and will He not do it.” Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life which God, WHO CANNOT LIE, promised before time began.” Hebrews 6:18 states emphatically, “it is IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO LIE.” These passages are crystal-clear and should convince all that God cannot lie, and thus He would never lie directly or indirectly through someone else. So, what are we to think of the passage in question?

The answer is actually simple. Though God cannot lie, He sometimes PERMITS someone to lie if it furthers His purpose. In the chapter before us we have King Ahab who was a wicked man who refused to believe the truth when God spoke to him through His prophets. Ahab wanted to go to war against Ramoth Gilead and he gathered 400 “false prophets” together and asked them, “Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or should I refrain” (verse 4)? They replied, “Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king” (verse 5). Later a “true prophet” (Micaiah) told Ahab, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace’” (verse 17). This is NOT what Ahab wanted to hear, for he knew that this prophecy foretold his death; he was Israel’s “shepherd” and “master” and the people (the “sheep”) would be without a shepherd after Ahab died on the battlefield. In verses 19-23 Micaiah goes on to explain that God ALLOWED an evil spirit (a “demon”) to be a “lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” By telling Ahab this he was both exposing Ahab’s prophets as “false prophets” AND warning him of impending danger. Let’s repeat what we said earlier; God is holy and He cannot lie! But at times, if men continue to reject the truth and prefer to listen to lies, God will give them what they want! Ahab wanted to hear “good news” even it was a lie and God permitted a lying spirit to give Ahab the news his wicked heart desired to hear. Ahab chose to believe the lie and he died in the battle!

There are other examples of God allowing a lie to be told to people that reject His truth. The most solemn case is found in 2nd Thessalonians 2:8-12. After the Rapture of the church to glory we read in this passage that the Antichrist will be revealed. The Holy Spirit describes him in verses 9-10, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and LYING WONDERS, and with all UNRIGHTEOUS DECEPTION among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” This wicked man, energized by Satan, will be a LIAR and a DECEIVER. Who does he deceive? Those who rejected the truth of God’s salvation! In verses 11-12 we see that God allowed this to happen, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie; that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Just as God permitted a lying spirit to deceive Ahab, so He will allow the Antichrist to deceive all Christ-rejecters. They don’t want the truth, so God gives them over to the lie. (230.7) (DO)